Stephen Wiltshire draws Rome

This video shows an amazing savant, Stephen Wiltshire, drawing a 5-1/2-foot mural of Rome from the memory of a 45-minute helicopter ride. It took him 3 days, and his perspective and detail are incredibly accurate, as revealed by an overlay of aerial photos.

We are an amazing variety of human beings, aren't we? I contrast this feat with my experience last week: After 3-1/2 hours of staring at and drawing just part of an arrangement of tricycle, open box and ladder, I was still seeing new details. And further contrast: the experience of my friend who finds stick figure representations of people simply daunting.

2 Replies to “Stephen Wiltshire draws Rome”

  1. Beth, I’m always reminded of this diversity when I’m in a bookmaking class (or any type of art class) and, invariably, start comparing whatever I’m producing to the work of the others in the class. It’s a bad habit, since someone else’s work will always be objectively “better,” but more importantly, each of us brings talents to what we do that cannot possibly be compared. A friend once told me that she does her best work “when I keep my eyes on my own page.” Better to simply appreciate other’s talents than to compare them with our own.

    By the way, thanks for including me on your blogroll. You’re on mine as well.


  2. Clara,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree that it’s unproductive to compare ourselves to others in the way you mean. But like everything else in life, balance is important. Seeing how others work, and what directions they take, is one of the best things about workshops and school. I love seeing the diversity of process as well as results.

    And thanks for the link. I’m really enjoying your blog.

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